Our Local Heroes: Holding star trophy the overall winner Kane Thomas with (from left) runner-up Len Turner, category winners Bernard Roberts and Curtis Botten, Uxbridge College Principal Laraine Smith, Kim Chapman, Editorial Director of Trinity Mirror Southern and category winner David Brough. (Photo courtesy of Uxbridge Gazette)Hillingdon's unsung heroes were invited to step into the spotlight at the gala awards
Hillingdon's unsung heroes were invited to step into the spotlight at the gala awards ceremony for the Local Heroes competition, run by Uxbridge College and the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader Series.
Around 120 guests, including proud family and friends, packed the theatre at Uxbridge College's Hayes Community Campus, off Coldharbour Lane, Hayes, for the event on 7 July celebrating those who defied adversity or went beyond the call of duty for others.
It was a double celebration for 10-year-old Kane Thomas who was crowned the Hero of Hillingdon - the overall winner - as well as winner of the Star Carer category.
Kane, a pupil at Botwell House Roman Catholic School in Hayes, was recognised for taking care of his mum, Roma, after she suffered from two mini strokes (bells palsy).
He got himself ready for school every day, brought her breakfast in bed and made his own packed lunch. He also continued to achieve at school and excelled in sporting activities, including being made captain of his school swimming team.
There were five categories in the annual competition – Star Carer, Fabulous Fundraiser, Community Champion, Courageous Citizen and Outstanding Young Person. The overall Hero of Hillingdon title was handed to the category winner the judges felt was most deserving.
As always, the standard of nominations was incredibly high, with the judging panel – Gazette multimedia content manager, Shujaul Azam; Uxbridge College Principal, Laraine Smith; and the Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Mary O'Connor – spending hours deliberating over the nominations.
The gala night opened with a short selection of music by talented pianist, Michael Gallagher, an Uxbridge College student, and a series of speeches, and the competition winners were then revealed. A celebration buffet and drinks, prepared and served by catering and hospitality students, was held afterwards in Revisco, the College's training restaurant.
Brave Curtis Botten was named Courageous Citizen after fearlessly jumping into a frozen lake to save two boys who had fallen through the ice in the middle of a blizzard, despite having an injured shoulder.
Community Champion David Brough, Chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, was honoured for his tireless efforts to keep the town at the forefront of everyone's minds, including community groups, council leaders, business managers, police, carers and places of worship. He encourages the community to work together and make Hayes a better place to live.
Kindhearted Scott Lewis, a pupil at St Martin's School in Northwood, was named Outstanding Young Person for giving up his time to volunteer for RSPCA Southridge, in Hertfordshire. He has also helped raise cash for Harefield Dogs' Trust, Comic Relief and the Love in a Box charity appeal for needy children.
Second World War veteran, Bernard Roberts, was given the Fabulous Fundraiser award after working for 10 years as Poppy Appeal organiser for the Eastcote Branch Royal British Legion, during which an amazing £250,000 was raised for the relief of distress of serving and ex-service military personnel.
Our 2011 Hero of Hillingdon, Kane Thomas, won £500 plus his category winner's prize, each of the category winners received £200 and a trophy, and runners up took home £50. Certificates were also handed out to a number of Highly Commended nominees.
Laraine Smith, Principal of Uxbridge College, said on the night: "Our heroes really are unique, exceptional, and extraordinary. Many of them do not think so – in fact we have had to twist a few arms to get everyone here tonight!
"This is a great opportunity to recognise some amazing people you might not normally hear anything about – whose stories are humbling, touching, inspiring, cheering and a privilege to share."
Editorial Director of Trinity Mirror Southern, the Gazette's parent company, Kim Chapman, added: "We are proud as a national newspaper group to support these events, including Pride of Britain and Local Heroes.
"These people are the glue that keeps the community together and their stories are amazing. Their kindness, hard work and bravery are brilliant examples of how we can improve our communities."
The Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Mary O'Connor MBE, was unable to attend the ceremony, but left a short message, saying: "I would like to congratulate all of you. I was proud to be on the judging panel and learn about all the wonderful things being done in Hillingdon."
For more from the Gazette please see:
Full list of winners
Hero of Hillingdon
Winner: Kane Thomas
Runners Up: Earl Phillip, Sharon Power
Highly Commended: Lindsey Gregory, Valerie Maguire and Tina Moon.
Winner: Bernard Roberts
Runners Up: Sarah Mustoe, Julie White-Cole
Highly Commended: Ian Parkinson
Winner: David Brough
Runners Up: Lesley Crowcroft, Len Turner
Highly Commended: Steve Hardwicke, Mavis Hazell, Hillingdon Foodbank, Carole Main, Maurice & Rita Ray and Peter Williams.
Winner: Curtis Botten
Runners Up: Rebecca Humphries, Joseph Kane
Outstanding Young Person
Winner: Scott Lewis
Runner Up: Elie Clark, Amber Powling
Highly Commended: Ahamed Farhan